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[ga] ICANN uses for-profit companies as "comparables" in its employee compensation

  • To: ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: [ga] ICANN uses for-profit companies as "comparables" in its employee compensation
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 12:40:40 -0800 (PST)

Hi folks,

According to page 123 of ICANN's annual report:


"d. Commitment to continued payment in the salary span of 50th to 75th
percentile of for-profit market place of companies of a similar size
and complexity to ICANN (the actual salary within this band determined
by the individual?s experience and talent and market position);"

Note that the comparables have been "for-profit". This is obviously
ridiculous, given the purported non-profit nature of ICANN, with its
inherent job security. Indeed, ICANN has had major blunders, yet to my
knowledge no staff were ever held accountable through termination or
pay reductions.

In addition, by using the above criteria, ICANN staff know that they
would personally benefit by increasing the size of the organization,
thereby allowing themselves to be compared to a better "comparable"
when determining compensation. This pro-size bias has already appeared
to influenced ICANN policy formulation, for example rushing to roll out
gTLDs which would bring in revenues to ICANN (and increased staff),
despite the great opposition of the community. Indeed, ICANN appears to
be promoting them as a fait accompli in media such as The Economist, 


with dog and pony shows to follow.

We see this spendthrift attitude in the ICANN fellowship program:


where money is thrown away, even repeatedly to prior fellows ("Nine of
the fellows are alumni from the past 5 programmes") while
constituencies get limited or no support when they bear the brunt of
the real input into policy work.

In conclusion, these bad incentives need to be corrected, through a
more appropriate set of compensation principles. For example, the
comparables should only include government and non-profit agencies. It
is clear that things would get even worse if ICANN were to have its
independence from US government oversight, and thus that oversight
should continue indefinitely. Indeed, it is a slap in the face of
consumers and the public that ICANN staff are feasting as if they are
in a dot-com bubble company, rather than demonstrating the conservative
financial and policy principles of non-profits and government agencies
that are accountable to the public. Given the current economy, I am
confident that ICANN will have no problems replacing any ICANN staff
members who resign due to a reduction in salary to a level comparable
to those in government or in non-profits.


George Kirikos

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